| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Oyler: 'ancient forts and mines' along the Ohio River

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By John Oyler
Monday, June 11, 2012, 4:36 p.m.

The May program meeting for the Bridgeville Area Historical Society was a presentation by Larry Gallant entitled "Ancient Fortresses of the Monongahela and Ohio River Valleys."

Gallant, who is an associate editor of "Ancient American Magazine," described himself as a lifelong amateur archaeologist.

The magazine provides a forum for speculation regarding alternative views of history, based upon the existence of non-conforming artifacts.

Its purpose is "to describe the prehistory of the American continent, regardless of presently fashionable beliefs — to provide a public forum for certified experts and nonprofessionals alike to freely express their views without fear or favor. In sharp contrast to majority academic opinion, its editorial position stands firmly on behalf of evidence for the arrival of overseas visitors to the Americas hundreds and even thousands of years before Columbus."

Gallant's format was to present information regarding archaeological artifacts that have been discovered and cannot easily be explained by conventional accepted views of history, and to then report on alternative theories that have been presented to explain them.

In keeping with his announced subject, he began by reporting on evidence of ancient fortresses in the Ohio River watershed.

One of Gallant's colleagues has found evidence of three such fortresses along the river, in Ohio and Indiana.

Each of the sites was well documented in the 19th century; unfortunately they have all been obliterated by more recent development. They appear to be examples of what conventional historians consider to be relics of the "Mound Builder" culture.

Roman coins have been found in a number of locations along the Ohio River. Several old maps indicate the presence of "ancient forts and mines."

Two of these forts were located along the Monongahela River, near Fayette City and Belle Vernon. Gallant is convinced there was a third fort along the "Mon," near Coal Hill. He and his son have searched the area, employing a dowsing rod, and have discovered a rectangular area about 135 feet long which may be the site of the fort. Nearby, they found a barn built with large stone blocks that he believes were taken from the fort site.

One of the old fort sites is at Ben's Run, on the Ohio River. It is 65 miles due west of Fairmont, W. Va., another location where someone believes there was a Roman settlement.

The connection with the Romans is associated with the historical mystery of the disappearance of the Ninth Roman Legion. Conventional history believes that the legion was disbanded after being badly defeated by barbarians in Britain in 117 AD, while Hadrian was emperor, and that this prompted the construction of Hadrian's Wall.

At any rate, the Ninth was no longer recorded in the list of active legions compiled during Marcus Aurelius' reign in 161 AD. The alternative historians suggest that the legion was sent to North America on a special mission by Hadrian and that they explored most of the Mississippi Basin.

This would have been an impressive logistical project, since the legion consisted of 6,000 fighting men and 4,000 more support troops and civilians.

Another alternative scenario is based on the well- documented discovery of ancient copper mines in Michigan. It is speculated that these mines were operated at the height of the Bronze Age in the Middle East and that hundreds of thousands of tons of refined copper were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean at that time. The contrast between the technological capability of the Native Americans, whom the settlers encountered during Colonial times, and that required to mine and transport large quantities of copper long distances suggests to the alternative historians that some other people inhabited North America 4,000 years ago.

Throughout all the North American alternative historical scenarios is the opinion that the Native Americans of colonial times were incapable of producing a culture that is represented by non-conforming artifacts.

We believe it is constructive for non-professionals to continue to report the presence of evidence that suggests our current ideas about history must continually be reconsidered.

We are not convinced that the alternative history scenarios without evidence warrant much serious consideration.

Reach columnist John Oyler at 412-343-1652 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Carlynton

  1. Judge rules Collier did not breach contract over 50 acres
  2. Collier police get van, 2 motorcycles for $8K
  3. New signs welcome motorists to Carnegie
  4. Little Lions Academy makes classroom work fun in the summer
  5. Musicians ready to perform at Teenage Takeover 3 in Bloomfield
  6. Town Talk: Carnegie couple celebrates 50th wedding anniversary
  7. Washington, D.C., man sues Edgeworth, former police officer over arrest
  8. Kiddie Academy to open in South Fayette this fall
  9. Oyler: Pa. rivers, precipitation enable us to enjoy water without worry
  10. Crafton bank robber takes more than $1,400
  11. Speeders under the watchful eye of police